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South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir urged Sudanese holdout groups Sunday to join the negotiation table to fast-track the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement.

He spoke after leaders from South Sudan and Sudan witnessed the signing of the third amendment of an implementation matrix of the agreement between Sudan’s government and opposition groups under the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).

President Kiir, who is the guarantor of the Sudan peace agreement, said the signed implementation matrix will fast-track the formation of the transitional government of national unity in Sudan.

"I would like to once again call upon General Abdelaziz Adam El Hilu, the leader of the SPLM-North, and Ustaz Abdul Wahid Mohamed al Nur, the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement, to seriously consider joining the Juba Peace Agreement,” said Kiir, according to a press statement posted on his official Facebook page.

He stressed that lasting peace in Sudan will remain elusive until these leaders join the peace train.

Kiir said that peace is an important dividend for the two sisterly countries.

"As a guarantor, our shared historical values and common interests demand that we work for stability to ensure prosperity for our people. It is our desire for peace in Sudan that compelled us to host numerous rounds of negotiations between the transitional government and various oppositions groups,” he said.

He said the new roadmap is not an attempt at renegotiating the 2020 Juba peace agreement signed to end decades of conflict but rather to facilitate dialogue among parties to transition the country toward sustainable peace.

“As the guarantor who led the process, let me reiterate on behalf of other guarantors that this workshop is not a parallel political process or a renegotiation of the Juba Peace Agreement. It is intended to contribute to the ongoing dialogue in Sudan about options for the transition and best approach towards the issue of democratic transformation.”

The opposition parties that signed the matrix include the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) faction led by Malik Agar, the Justice and Equality Movement under Gibril Ibrahim, the Democratic Union party led by Eltom Hajou and the Sudan Liberation Movement under Minni Minnawi.

The holdout groups such as the SPLM-N faction led by Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu and Sudan Liberation Movement under Abdul Wahi Al-Nur did not sign the matrix.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, said his government remains committed to realizing security, freedom and development in all regions of Sudan.

“The implementation of the Juba peace agreement will help in putting into practice the 2012 cooperation agreement, providing joint border security and the opening of border points for trade and exchange,” said Al-Burhan.

He reaffirmed his government’s commitment to work with the signatories to the Juba peace deal to fully implement the matrix for lasting peace in Sudan.

Minnawi called on the international community and the region to avail financial and political support for the implementation of the peace deal, which has stalled due to a lack of funding and political uncertainty in Sudan.

“We need political and financial support including regional and international support to bring changes and fully implement all pending tasks. In Darfur, we call for peace and development, and we hope the Juba Peace Agreement will allow refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their original homes,” said Minnawi.

Ismail Wais, the special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), urged the signatories to the Juba Peace Agreement to consistently implement it, noting that the peace guarantors are behind the government of Sudan to ensure that a sustainable peace is reached in the country.

El Sheikh Iben Omar, the special advisor of Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, commended the government of South Sudan for the support and mediation of the Sudanese peace agreement.

The Juba Peace Agreement was signed in Juba under the auspices of President Kiir on Oct. 3, 2020 between the Sudanese government and 14 signatories. The Republic of Chad, United Arab Emirates and IGAD are the guarantors, while Egypt and Qatar are witnesses to the peace deal. - Benjamin Takpiny, Anadolu Agency


President Paul Kagame on Friday, February 17, met with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, for a discussion on regional security and solutions that support regional mechanisms and processes.

Their meeting, held in Addis Ababa, followed a mini-summit where Kagame joined other East African Community (EAC) Heads of State to discuss the implementation of the Nairobi peace process and Luanda roadmap in a bid to address the deteriorating security situation in eastern DR Congo.

“They also discussed UN-Rwanda areas of partnerships in peacekeeping, achieving SDGs among others,” the president’s office announced.

Kagame is in Addis Ababa for the 36th Ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.

The bi-annual meeting is attended by African Heads of State and Government as well as heads and representatives of international organizations including the United Nations.

Held under the theme “The Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation,” this year’s Assembly will consider and make decisions on various political and socio-economic areas to promote and advance the welfare and quality of life for African citizens. - Edwin Ashimwe, The New Times


The European Union is blaming Rwanda, again, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for ignoring proposals of regional peace initiatives even as Kinshasa’s government forces battle the M23 rebel movement.

A statement issued on Tuesday said Rwanda, the DRC and the M23 should adhere to regional peace processes and lay down arms. 

The European bloc said all armed groups should also withdraw from the positions they occupy and take part in the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process. It blamed Rwanda for fanning M23, and DRC for continued collaboration with other armed groups.

“The European Union condemns their violent actions and urges Rwanda to cease its support to the M23, and to use all means to put pressure on the M23 to withdraw from the occupied areas, as foreseen in the plan agreed between the East African Community heads of state and government on 9 February in Nairobi,” the EU said.

Attacks on civilians

It said the Congolese army, FARDC, should stop collaborating with armed groups, including the FDLR, seen by Rwanda as remnants of the 1994 genocidaires.

The EU “strongly condemns the repeated attacks targeting civilians carried out in particular by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) in North Kivu and Ituri,” it said.

In December, the EU had accused Rwanda of fomenting rebellion in eastern DRC by arming and supporting the M23, claims that Kigali denied.

On Tuesday, the EU said the peace process under the EAC — known as the Nairobi process — and another under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region — known as the Luanda process — must be supported.

Withdrawal of M23

The Nairobi Process is pursuing both military and diplomatic solutions. On February 9, military chiefs from the East African Community proposed that the M23 should begin its withdrawal from February 28 for a period of one month.

DRC’s Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs Christophe Lutundula says the new withdrawal timetable and the new deployment plan for EAC member countries' troops are only proposals at this stage that the government will assess.

"We are following this with great attention, anything that is not in the sense of allowing the republic to fully exercise its sovereignty, to safeguard its territorial authority, to safeguard the independence of our country, we will not accept it, that's for sure," said Lutundula.

"We will further decipher the content, not only the writing, but the spirit of what has been proposed. We are following that very carefully", he added.

Rapid EAC troops deployment

The European Union also encouraged the rapid deployment of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) and the continuation of an inclusive dialogue.

The deployment is supposed to follow the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) but the Congolese government has not yet confirmed the arrival of new troops this week.

“We will evaluate the SOFA without any omissions. I can say that we will not hesitate to put an end to it. But we don't want to. Our view is that we must continue to review the SOFA,” said Lutundula on Monday.

Despite this roadmap signed on November 23, 2022, and the appeals of heads of state, the parties continue to fight, causing civilians to flee en masse.

The European Union noted that “the lack of implementation of commitments and decisions taken by the various parties, and the continuation of fighting, particularly around Goma, is aggravating a disastrous humanitarian situation”.

Though critical of Kigali’s involvement in the conflict, the EU last week renewed a refugee holding programme with Rwanda for Kigali to help with hosting refugees rescued from Libya as they await processing to other countries. The programme is to last for three years. - PATRICK ILUNGA, The EastAfrican

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